Does Anxiety Make You Tired? 8 Surprising Facts About The Connection Between Anxiety and Fatigue

Does Anxiety Make You Tired?

You can identify how your body feels: restless, on edge, increased heart rate, trouble concentrating, and tired. You may not know what is causing these feelings, but one thing is for certain: it is impacting your daily life.

As time passes, your feelings of fatigue grow even more. It becomes a vicious cycle of tension and exhaustion, and you wonder how you can overcome it.

You may be suffering from anxiety, which can cause a range of physical symptoms in the body. According to experts, anxiety has been on the rise in the United States for several years. 

Does anxiety make you tired? Absolutely, and there are several reasons for this. There are also ways that you can reduce anxiety and improve your overall well-being.

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a blanket term for the body’s reaction to stressful or dangerous situations. Whether the threat is real or perceived, the body goes into “fight-or-flight” mode, and you begin to experience a physical reaction.

Anxiety can range from mild to severe, and every person is different. What makes you anxious may not impact someone else at all.

To some extent, anxiety keeps us alert and aware of our surroundings. However, too much anxiety can be debilitating. The effects can begin to impact everyday life, including fatigue.

Why Does Anxiety Make You Tired?

There are many different triggers for anxiety, and the cause of your anxiety can have a direct correlation to being tired. Let’s look at some common sources of anxiety and how you can counter-balance feeling anxious in these situations.

1. Stress

Stress and anxiety often go hand in hand. You may feel out of control or that you have multiple competing demands, such as balancing work and family.

Stress can cause you to feel frustrated or nervous. The stress may be ongoing or a reaction to a specific situation. As the body reactions to stress, you can feel tired.

Tips: Identify the sources of your stress, particularly if the feelings are ongoing. Talking to someone can help, whether informally, such as a friend family member, or more formally, such as a doctor or therapist. Recognizing when you need help is critical in keeping stress manageable.

2. Coping

As your body reacts to stress and anxiety, your brain is expending energy. Over time, you can experience mental exhaustion, which translates to physical exhaustion.

Tips: Like needing to rest after physical exertion, your brain also needs the opportunity to rest. Allow yourself time to recharge, particularly if your anxiety was a result of a specific situation. Take time away from other people to regroup.

Writing can be a great coping mechanism, whether typed or handwritten. As you write, you can clear whatever you have been holding onto in your mind. 

3. Anxiety Attacks

An attack of anxiety is a rush of physical symptoms. You may experience any of the following:

  • Heart racing
  • Sweating
  • Nauseousness
  • Rapid breathing
  • Trembling 
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feeling weak or tired

Your body is having a rush of adrenaline, followed by a crash. Your brain has to realize that the perceived threat of danger is not real. Coming down from this “fight or flight” response can leave you exhausted. 

A panic attack has a more extreme physical reaction. You may experience overwhelming fear, chest pain, or feel disconnected from yourself and your surroundings. Panic attacks can appear without an identifiable trigger.

Tips: For an anxiety attack, taking deep breaths can help guide your body back into a less anxious state. Focus on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth, slowly and for several minutes. You should begin to feel your heart rate slow, and some of the other physical symptoms decrease.

You may also find that you need additional help, such as therapy or medication, especially if the attacks are debilitating.

4. Muscle Tension

Anxiety can cause your body to tense up throughout the day. You may not even be aware of this until you reach the end of the day and feel exhausted. Common areas of muscle tension are the neck, shoulders, and jaw.

Additionally, during a panic attack or anxiety attack, your muscles will also tighten. You may feel stiffness in the body after the attack has subsided. Like exercise, muscle tension can make you feel tired.

Tips: Pay attention to your body, especially if you have ongoing anxiety. Relax your shoulders and unclench your jaw. You may need to do a “check-in” with your body several times during the day to combat muscle tension.

You can also try a full-body relaxation technique. You could use a guided meditation or do this on your own.

Find a quiet area and lie down on your back. Starting with your head, slowly go through your body and focus on relaxing each area, not moving to the next area until the last one has calmed. By doing this, you are forcing yourself to be present and aware of your body’s response.

5. Social Situations

Do you feel anxious before a social event? Many people react to social situations, and the anticipation can be as stressful as the event itself.

Social anxiety can result from discomfort with large groups of people or fear of awkwardness or rejection. You may find that you are exhausted just thinking about the event or drained after attending.

Tips: Allow yourself to exit and breathe, especially if crowds are the source of your anxiety. You can also talk through your feelings and try to change your perception. Is the possibility of rejection real, or are you assuming the worst?

Also, give yourself space to say no. If the setting makes you uncomfortable, see if there is an alternative. If the social event is not required, make a decision to prioritize yourself if needed.

6. Poor Sleep Habits

Anxiety and trouble sleeping are constantly feeding each other. On the one hand, anxiety can lead to difficulty sleeping. On the other, poor sleep can increase feelings of anxiety.

Poor sleep can result from racing thoughts keeping you awake at bedtime. You may also wake during the night and find yourself unable to fall back asleep. If you nap during the day as a result of fatigue and your nap is too long, this will further disrupt your nighttime sleep.

Tips: Avoid caffeine as a means of compensating for fatigue. Too much caffeine will disrupt your overall sleep. Limit your naps to 20 minutes and ensure that your naps are not too late in the day.

Stay away from screens as you are trying to fall asleep. Screens are known to disrupt your body’s internal clock, and the content may be contributing to your anxiety.

Meditation, relaxation, or yoga can help to calm your body. You may find that you can fall asleep more quickly or that your sleep quality improves.

7. Loss of Appetite

When you are anxious, you may feel nauseous or have a loss of appetite. However, skipping meals will quickly drain you of energy. Not maintaining fluid intake will cause dehydration, which is another source of fatigue.

At the same time, attempting to calm anxiety with different foods or beverages may only increase the effects. Alcohol, caffeine, and sugar can also create false feelings of calm, but feelings of anxiety will return after these wear off, and there are other impacts on the body.

Tips: Don’t skip meals. Eat nutrient-dense foods, get plenty of water, and stay away from foods and beverages that may only temporarily mask symptoms of anxiety.

8. Depression

Anxiety and depression can occur at the same time. Anxiety can also trigger depression, especially if the anxiety is left untreated. Symptoms of depression include lack of energy and fatigue, along with continuous low mood and low self-esteem.

Tips: Co-existing anxiety and depression can make it challenging to keep stressful situations in perspective. It is best to treat anxiety before anxiety leads to depression.

Exercise is essential for lowering stress hormones in the body and keeping anxiety in check. Regular exercise will release brain chemicals called endorphins that will boost your energy and mood.

If you cannot manage your anxiety, it is important to seek professional help. The earlier the anxiety is addressed, the sooner you will start to feel better and potentially avoid a spiral of feeling worse or depression.

Seeking Help for Anxiety

Does anxiety make you tired to the point where it is affecting your daily life? Have you tried different techniques to reduce anxiety without getting much relief?

Anxiety disorders are common and range from generalized anxiety, panic disorders, and others. Causes can include genetics, trauma, substance abuse, and medical conditions.

Anxiety disorders are highly treatable. Medication can manage symptoms, and cognitive-behavioral therapy is highly effective by focusing on changing behaviors and thought patterns. Seeking help is the first step in controlling your anxiety.

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